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OC Register: Angels select Louisville pitcher Reid Detmers with 1st-round draft pick


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It’s usually safe to assume that any player chosen in the Major League Baseball draft, even a first-rounder, will not make his major league debut until the following season at the earliest.

Not so in 2020.

The Angels chose Louisville pitcher Reid Detmers with their first-round pick Wednesday. The left-hander is the first pitcher the Angels have chosen with their first draft pick since Sean Newcomb in 2014. The scouting report on Detmers – and the uncertainty around MLB roster sizes this season – predict he could arrive sooner rather than later.

Detmers, who turns 21 in July, made four starts in his junior season. He was 3-0 with a 1.23 earned-run average when the NCAA season was postponed due to the novel coronavirus. Detmers struck out 48 batters in 22 innings, though he is not a power pitcher in the mold of Newcomb and many other first-round selections. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90-mph range.

Last year, Detmers pitched for the U.S. National team following his sophomore season at Louisville. He set the Cardinals’ single-season strikeout record with 167, and tied the program record for wins with 13, in his last full college season.

In a television interview with ESPN from Louisville’s team meeting room on campus, Detmers told the network, “I think I’m going to move pretty quick. I think I’m going to get going and have a good feel right off the bat. That’s kind of my goal, to move quickly through the organization as soon as possible.”

It’s a good year to be a fast-moving minor leaguer.

The coronavirus wiped out the minor league schedule, but commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Network on Wednesday “we’re going to play baseball in 2020, 100 percent.”

Once the season begins, teams might need more players than a 40-man roster allows. That invites the strong possibility that teams will be allowed a “reserve list” of non-roster players who could join the major league club later in the season. Could Detmers be a candidate?

Keanan Lamb, the Senior MLB Draft Writer for Baseball Prospectus, said “the command for both (his) fastball and curveball are advanced, just needing a little extra work on the changeup to help his overall starter profile. Assuming the transition from college to the pros goes smoothly, he could move reasonably quickly in the Angels’ system that desperately could use starting pitching.”

The Angels have been allotted $6.4 million to spend on their five picks in this year’s draft. The assigned slot value for the number-11 pick is $4,739,900.

Detmers had been drafted once before, when the Braves selected him in the 32nd round of the 2017 draft out of Chatham Glenwood High School. His father, Kris, was a minor-league pitcher in the Cardinals’ organization from 1994-99.

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